I was recently listening to a podcast discussion that included two people that had been involved in military special operations units—one in the Navy SEALs and one in the US Army Special Forces. I was struck by their extremely high level of training, dedication, commitment, and overall ability—but also by also how this had in large part been squandered on fighting a destructive and unproductive war in Afghanistan, supporting questionable CIA operations, and so on.
It occurs to me that people in the rationalist community are at least notionally working on much more important causes, but with far less training, commitment, personal skill, etc.
This leads to my question—what would it look like if similar levels of training effort, funding, selection, etc. were going into preparing rationalists to do as much good in the world as possible as is currently going into preparing elite military units? (I don’t think that this would necessarily look much like elite military training, to be clear!)
If this first exercise comes up with anything that seems promising—are there ways that we could potentially 80⁄20 this and get much of the goods without high costs?
(nb: this post is just personal musings and not “official” on behalf of CFAR or any other organization.)